Formation

Steps and tools to become a “Living Stone” (i.e. a Christian who is “adult in faith”)

 

Living Stones is a project of New Evangelization but is also an itinerary of Christian formation for young believers, who want to become “adult in faith”. To volunteer in Living Stones means to grow up in faith through:

  • a prayer formation,
  • a theological, art-historical and cultural study,
  • an intense experience of direct announcement and community life.

This “school of Christian life” leads, through different steps, to leave the “Living Stones” group after some years, and to become an adult “Church co-builder” with a clear orientation of life.

 

Spiritual Formation

To be active in Living Stones means to learn how to pray. But for people who already have a regular rhythm of prayer, Living Stones is a “school” to pass from a “private prayer” to an “apostolic prayer”, and from there to a discernment about the own life decision. The spirituality of the “Ignatian Exercises” helps us to deepen the relationship with God and his Word, and gives us the tools to discern what the Lord is already doing and telling us in our life.

The spiritual formation is experienced in Living Stones at several levels:

  • Personal prayer (in silence) and common prayer (as sharing or liturgy) at the beginning, during, and at the end of each evangelization day, in every community, and every international camp.
  • Short community retreats (1 or 2 days), normally at the beginning and at the end of each year.
  • International SPIRITUAL EXERCISES organized for Living Stones and friends in different dates of the year (just one in a year is to be chosen):
    – 5 days Ignatian Exercises at Easter (from Good Wednesday till Easter Monday) in a therapeutic center for drug addicts near Lecce (Italy).
    – 7 days Ignatian Exercises in the Swiss Alps (Simplon Pass, 2000 meters), last week of August.
    – 7 days Ignatian Exercises in Sardegna (Italy), first week of August.

 

Theological Formation

Theology is “faith seeking to understand”. Saint Ignatius decided to begin to study in order to be able to better “help the souls” (“ayudar las almas”). In a similar way the commitment of the Living Stones in the intellectual theological studies has an apostolic aim: to take away the barriers against faith that inhabit the mind of people. But the intellectual comprehension of faith is also a spiritual experience: to discover the beauty of our faith enlarges in us “the space of worship”, and provides solid roots to our inner path. The theological formation gives unity between “head” and “heart”.

The theological formation is experienced in Living Stones at several levels:

  • During the weekly community meetings.
  • Through personal readings, counseled by your own “tutor”.
  • International formation camps (every year):
    – 3 days transversal formation for beginners and advanced (1st May weekend; on 2018 in Venice about: “What is the Church?”).
    – 4 days “Introduction to Biblical Exegesis” (Munich, Pentecost weekend).
    – 7 days about “Christian origins between paganism and Hebraism” (Greece, end of September).
    – 7 days about “Medieval theology and Gothic art” (Paris, mid-September).
    – IN PROJECT: 7 days about “The Italian Renaissance” (Pisa – Florence – Arezzo)

 

Art historical and cultural formation

The heart of each human being is longing for God and that’s why each human culture can be contemplated as a research of God. That’s why the first Christians could “inculturate” faith in the ancient pagan context. In every time and place the Church continues this work of “inculturation of the Gospel”. Christian art is one of the richest areas where faith and prayer are “translated in culture”. A Christian masterpiece is a “visible prayer”. In order to provide a new access to this dimension of art, we need an accurate study of the history of art and a scientific approach to its sources. Some aspects of anthropology, philosophy and sociology help us also to understand better what happens in front of a piece of art and who is this “today’s humankind” we meet in the churches.

The art-historical and cultural formation is experienced in Living Stones in the same occasions as the theological formation, i.e.:

  • During the weekly community meetings.
  • Through personal readings, counseled by your own “tutor”.
  • International formation camps (every year):
    – 3 days transversal formation for beginners and advanced (1st May weekend; on 2018 in Venice, about: “What is the Church?”).
    – 4 days “Biblical Exegetical Camp” (Munich, Pentecost weekend).
    – 7 days about “Christian origins between paganism and Hebraism” (Greece, end of September).
    – 7 days about “Medieval theology and Gothic art” (Paris, mid-September)
    – IN PROJECT: 7 days about “The Italian Renaissance” (Pisa – Florence – Arezzo)

 

Evangelization and community practice

The announcement of faith is the first goal of the Living Stones. They were born to show “the Beauty through the beauty”. But this practice of evangelization through free guided visits and through improvised conversations in the churches is itself a formation experience. Each encounter with unknown visitors is a “lesson” of faith and humanity for the LS volunteer. He/She experiences to become a “guided guide” by the Presence of the Spirit that “inhabits” in the heart of every visitor. At the same time the evangelization of Living Stones helps to understand that the Christian faith and the Christian apostolate is always a community experience. The LS volunteer experiences that the community is not only the “sweet home” where it’s possible to be empowered and sustained, but the beauty of the community is the very concrete witness that the Living Stones can give. The community is itself announcement. “Living Stones allows people searching the beauty of churches to discover the beauty of the Church”.

The evangelization and community formation is constantly experienced in Living Stones:

  • During the regular service in your own town (normally one or two days a month).
  • In “full immersion” international camps:
    – With Taizé new year meeting (2017-18 in Basel).
    – Santiago de Compostela: several 15 days-shifts every summer.
    – Puente La Reina (Navarra): several 15 days-shifts every summer.
    – Prague: 10 days camp in summer.
    – Cuba: 20 days camp in August (with CVX-LMS)

 

Summary of all the international camps (until autumn 2018)
  • Coordinators school (only for coordinators, formators and “columns”). Naples, December 8-10, 2017. (for info see News)
  • New Year Taizé meeting in Basel (for info see News) .
  • Easter Spiritual Exercises, at “Comunità Emmanuel”, Lecce (Italy), March 28 – April 2, 2018 (for info see News) .
  • International Formation Weekend (for all!): on 2018 in Venice, April 28 – May 1, the topic this year will be: “What is the Church?” (for info see News) .
  • Biblical Exegetical Camp. Munich, May 18 – 22, 2018 (for info see News) .
  • Santiago de Compostela. 1st shift July 25 – August 6, 2018; 2nd shift August 1–13, 2018.
  • Puente La Reina (Navarra). July 13 – 26, 2018.
  • Prague: 10 days camp in summer
  • Cuba: 20 days camp in August, with CVX-LMS (Christian Life Community)
  • Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in the Swiss Alps, Simplon Pass (CH), August 24–31, 2018.
  • Paris: “Medieval Theology and Gothic Art”. September 12-19, 2018.
  • Greece: “Christian Origins between Paganism and Hebraism”. September 22-30, 2018.
  • IN PROJECT: 7 days on “The Italian Renaissance” (Pisa – Florence – Arezzo)

 

The different steps in the formation path of a “Living Stone”